Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2020

Shelf Help Ep. 34 - Christmas Traditions...Montessori Style!

Holiday celebrations look different for every family. As Montessori families we are looking for ways to include our children in our celebrations in active and meaningful ways. In today's episode, Nicole and Amy discuss their Christmas traditions and how they include their children in the celebrations. From secular to religious ideas, we discuss how we will celebrate this holiday season.
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...Kite PaperWaldorf Paper StarsOur first starsBeeswax Candle KitSaint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas LegendPick a Pine TreeAn Advent Calendar Idea - A Book a DayOur Advent Box - Advent Ideas for Montessori FamiliesThe Easiest Toddler Christmas TreeFontanini NativityCelebrating Advent with Children - How we Use an Advent SpiralShelf Help Ep. 31 - Our Approaches toward Santa Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you …

Montessori Fetching Games - 3 Ways

There are so many wonderful Montessori materials that can teach children a variety of academic topics. From language to math, to practical life and sensorial work, the Montessori classroom is filled with so many beautiful, scientific, and well thought out materials. But, that doesn't mean that all the learning happens only through those materials. There are a variety of games that children play with materials that help them gain a deeper understanding of the concepts. 

Since most of us won't have a ton of classroom materials at home (and we don't need them!), we can still play similar games that engage preschoolers and help them learn. One type of game that we really enjoy here are fetching games. Fetching games incorporate movement, elements of suspense, control, and academic learning. Basically, in these games you ask your child (or your child asks you) to "fetch" something. You then come back together and explore what you found! Here are three ways we play fetc…

Our Kids' Montessori Gift Lists 2020

With the holiday season upon us we've been making lists and gathering gifts for the Kavanaugh children. It's always a fun process of observing my children, seeing what they would really be interested in and making some decisions based on what I see. This year is different because I'm also making decisions knowing that we are looking at a very long and quiet winter ahead. So that's influencing the amount I will buy and the specific choices I will/have made. 

Henry and Nora are also at the point, being into the second plane of development, where they heavily influence the items on the list and what is ultimately purchased. So, you'll see that while Montessori influences what I will purchase and what goes on their list, so does their own preferences and personality. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  TheodoreTeddy is 14-months-old right now and as the fourth baby, we have so many toddler things. But, there are a few things I've still found that h…

From A to Z - Montessori Toy and Gift Guide

There are so many fun Montessori inspired gift lists available. I'm adding with just a little bit of A to Z fun! I challenged myself to think of a couple of things from each letter of the alphabet that would be perfect for a Montessori home. This is a combination of toys and practical life materials that would be fun to have at home. 
I included things that are simple, realistic, challenge children to develop their senses, and isolate concepts where possible. Many are also open ended or games for fun connection with a child. 
I have included at least two ideas for each letter, one that trends a little younger (0-3 years) and one that trends a bit older (3-9 years). I've tried to include an age range for each to help you decide what might appeal to your child. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
A - Apple Apron (1-5) | Airplane (2+) B - Ball Run (1-4) | Buddha Board (2+) C - Colors Book (0-4) My book! | Continent Race Game (6+) D - Drum (0+) | Dollhouse (2+)  E - Ear…

Shelf Help Ep. 33 - Why We Don't Make Our Children Share

There is a lot of pressure for young children to freely share toys and navigate social situations on their own. As Montessori parents, Nicole and Amy don't make their children share and instead let their children use toys for as long as they want. In this week's episode, we discuss how we approach sharing, waiting, and the emotions that come from learning to relate to other people.  Show Notes...Handling BIG EmotionsCharlotte Grace and Courtesy Video
Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google.


Grace and Courtesy in a Montessori Home

As humans we have a huge list of social "rules" that we follow everyday when interacting with our families and other people. These are expectations for behavior that have become (for better or worse) social expectations. We say "hello" when greeting someone. We say "excuse me" to get past something. The exact examples will vary based on your personal comfort levels, cultural background, religious beliefs, and customs. But, no matter who you are or where you live, your family will follow a set of unsaid social rules.

When a baby is born into those rules, they have to learn them. In a traditional, non-Montessori home this might be done through discipline, correction, and punishment over time. A small child is running in house, for example. The parent might stop the child and correct, "Stop running! You're going to hurt someone!" or it could go further, "I've told you to stop running a hundred times, next time, you're going to sit i…

Montessori Friendly Small Shop Gift Guide

We really live in such an amazing world. Even compared to a few years ago, there are so many amazing Montessori small shops out there. So many are producing or carrying high quality Montessori friendly toys, games, and materials. In this unique year, I wanted to make sure to highlight some of the shops that inspire me and my children. 
I'm sure there are many more that could be featured here on this list. And, if you know of others that others should know about, please leave a link in the comments! Remember with these shops, it's important to shop early if you want to receive your materials before the holidays. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. For the Home 1. Floor Cushion - these look so cozy for reading, cuddling and playing! 
2. Montessori Activity Trays - these are so great for setting up work for your home. 
3. Wooden Art Organizers - These are so lovely and a great way to promote order in your space. 
4. Wooden Utensil Tray - I have waited so long to find …

Shelf Help Ep. 32 - The Beauty of Montessori Math

The Montessori math curriculum is one incredible part of a Montessori education. From concrete to abstraction, children use hands on mathematical materials to learn the ins and outs of mathematics. In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy dive into the world of Montessori math explaining a little about how it works, why it works, and how we support our children's mathematical minds at home. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...Math Works: Montessori Math and the Developing BrainInfo Montessori MathNumber RodsSensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and GuideSandpaper NumeralsGolden BeadsStamp GameSmall Bead FrameLarge Bead FrameGolden Bead (Flat) FrameMontessori Finger ChartsMontessori Addition Strip Board Racks and TubesHierarchical MaterialCheckerboardSpindle Box DIYCards and CountersPegging Number BoardsTiny Polka Dot GameCount Your ChickensHaba Orchard GameAubrey Hargis Color Bead DIYTraditional Montessori Bead BoxMath At Their Own PaceFracti…

Two DIYs for the Montessori Second Great Lesson

One of my favorite parts of being at home with my Elementary aged children this year have been the Great Lessons! The five great lessons are foundational to the Montessori Elementary scope and sequence. They speak to the needs of elementary students in a way that engages their academic learning and sparks creativity. It's through the great lessons that children dive into science, history, mathematics, social studies, and so much more. Children return to these lesson each year for their six years of elementary, and can dive deeper into areas of interest over those times. The first lesson focuses on the creation of the universe, the second on the coming of life, the third on the coming of man, the fourth on the history of writing, and the fifth on the history of mathematics. 

I don't know how long we'll homeschool at this point. The plan is just for this year, so I knew that I needed to do the Great Lessons but didn't necessarily want to invest in a ton of new materials i…

Montessori and Waiting - 2 Solutions We Use at Home

Here's something about me - I have very little patience. It's true! Patience is something I struggle with immensely. I don't want to wait for anything. So, I empathize with my kids when they struggle with patience. And, because they are kids, they struggle often! Waiting is hard, especially when you consider that children's brains aren't fully developed and their impulse control is just significantly less mature. 

As a Montessori family, we use two different techniques to help with waiting. Both work really well so I wanted to share them in case you struggle with waiting in your family. These are both techniques that I have picked up observing in Montessori classrooms and have had success with at home for many years. They both involve keeping the waiting child's hands busy and working on some connection so they know they are being heard as they wait.  Hands Behind the BackI often call this our observation stance! Hands behind the back is something that helps with…

Shelf Help Ep. 31 - Our Approaches toward Santa

Nicole and Amy are back from fall break to talk about the holidays! In this week's episode, we are catching up and sharing how we approach Santa in our homes. While every Montessori family will find their own rhythm when it comes celebrations. We also address the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny. Honest Santa discussion starts at 23 minutes.
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Show Notes...Charlotte and SantaNight Before Christmas Book: Version 1 | Version 2Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas LegendThrow Your Tooth on the RoofOne Morning in Maine
Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google.